Austin Is Changing: How Do You Feel About It?

On my CultureMap column, I’ve written a number of posts about how wonderful Austin is and how much I love this adopted city of mine. For this, I’ve received comments telling me to “go home” and that “I’m the problem with Austin’s recent changes.”

These comments make me think of a conversation I had with a waitress at relatively new neighborhood restaurant here in town. The restaurant does not stay open late and caters towards respectable diners, but that hasn’t stop a disgruntled neighbor from chasing down patrons who park in his neighborhood with a hammer.

I think it’s fair to say that some Austinites don’t like change.

The only other town where I saw physical opposition towards not just newcomers, but visitors too, was Marfa, Texas, where a man in a cowboy hat stalked us down Main Street giving us a sermon about the evil city dwellers from Austin, New York and LA.

Change can suck ass. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

I’ve been here 3 1/2 years and even I can remember East 6th Street before there was a bar on every corner and parking became non-exisent.

Lately, I’ve found myself experiencing the same road rage I had in Los Angeles. Traffic like this shouldn’t be happening in Austin, right? That’s reserved for the asshole cities.

Construction is ridiculous. The skyline looks like a poorly performed polygraph test. Crime is up. Something stupid happened with the parking meters downtown. One time I stepped foot into the W Hotel and felt like I was at a cattle show.

But what would happen if we said “TAKE A HIKE, JERKFACE!” to all the non-Austinites who moved to our town?

What would Austin look like?


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  • Reply RC January 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I find it so bizarre that some born and bred Austinites have such a problem with new-comers. Seriously, why all the hate? It just seems unnecessary. I get that people don’t like change, but change is inevitable and people have the right to move where they please. This notion that a person doesn’t belong in a city unless they were born there is truly horrible.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 25, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      I agree, but I also understand their side too. Change is inevitable though, whether we like it or not. People have been relocating since the beginning of time.

  • Reply Ivan Toblog January 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks for the idea! I may even get the post written in a timely manner 😉

    • Reply hipstercrite January 25, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      Share it with me when you do!

      • Reply Ivan Toblog January 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm

        I guess I should check back more often? I actually wrote the post, in my own clumsy manner, the same day.

  • Reply Allison January 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    It’s interesting that the mentality is that everyone should just stay where they are and where they “belong.” It’s weird. I understand the resistance to change as well, I still live in the city I grew up in and I’ve seen it change from a quaint downtown to condo city full of yuppies. I want to scream “I’m not like them, I have no money and I like my dive bars and my shabby old buildings!.”

    But I guess people should be able to live where they want and that’s just the way it is. Maybe someday I’ll move somewhere else where I don’t “belong.”

    • Reply hipstercrite January 25, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      When I lived in LA, I never heard that. Probably because no one is from LA. I understand Texans wanting to preserve their state, but they certainly make it attractive to people to move to! Maybe they should become more like New Zealand.

  • Reply eric January 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    It’s interesting to hear the problems of a city located on the cool side of the hip scale. Here in Wichita, we’re doing anything and everything to ATTRACT anyone. It’s increasingly difficult however, when companies like Coleman and Boeing are leaving, taking their employment, and economic value with them…but we’re trying.

    I love Austin, and as I read the article couldn’t help but think it really is a wonderful problem to have, a sign of a successful city. Austin is doing something right. Hopefully I’ll be able to write a similar story about Wichita in 10 years.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 25, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      Eric, I feel the same way about my town in New York. I’m sure people would looooooove if newcomers, industry, hell, even a Starbucks, would move in!

  • Reply Daniela January 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    You know, during the 2 years that I lived in Austin (2008 to 2010), I never felt like an actual Austinite.
    I’m sure there was a mixture of reasons for this. Austin was fairly welcoming throughout my time there. Then again, I’m from Texas, so I feel like that for that reason alone I never got fully snubbed by anyone.
    At the same time, I think if you live in Austin for the long haul, you have to really, really love it there. And I never felt that way. So I moved back to Chicago and this city welcomed me with open arms; I almost wish I had never left.
    People are moving around constantly. I guess I’m just surprised that it’s so noticeable in Austin when a different crowd comes in. In a way, I can’t really blame people for being annoyed by change, but hopefully Austin will grow to a point where you no longer notice the difference between locals and newcomers.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      I love Chicago and it’s interesting that you say that! When I worked there for a two month stint, I was so happy. I often feel I could live there but I never want to experience winters every again! I’m glad you love Chicago.

  • Reply Eric January 31, 2012 at 3:20 am

    Your Marfa reference was spot-on! In a Catch 22 of sorts, they HATE Austinites with a passion there (to the point of printing bumper stickers that read “Keep Austin There”). My aunt has a vacation home there (and thus pumped a lot of money into local builders pockets while she renovated the dilapidated home + property taxes + paying the yardman, cleaning woman, etc., etc.), I stayed for about a month and experienced a lot of hostility simply being from Austin, the funny thing is, all the people bitching aren’t even FROM Marfa (a LOT of them are from San Francisco for some reason?), the hipsters hate Austinites, the natives hate the hipsters (unless they own a business or are contractors or work for the “outsiders”) AND Austinites, as well, who do they think owns the Pizza Foundation, Conchineal, Maiya’s, Hotel Paisano, the BULK of the businesses there? NOT native Marfians, and certainly not the suprememly assholish hipster transplants (who survive because of the tourists), who I found to be the unfriendliest of the population. I just mention this because it’s basically the same problem there as here on a smaller scale. All I can say is that Marfa is VERY overrated.

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